Time for a fallback plan… Black Beans & Rice in a snap

“Black Beans and Rice” may not sound like words you need to hear in an emergency, but when the emergency is a dinner emergency, they might be just the thing.

why do they want dinner every night

Every family life has days in it when you find out the meat you took out of the freezer hasn’t thawed, or when you come home and find out that after you put that delicious stew in the crock pot this morning, you left home without plugging it in. Worse, sometimes there is the dreaded “I did not have time to go to the grocery store after all.”

In these cases there always seems to be nothing in the fridge but a few paltry leftovers that won’t quite make a full dinner for the family and the last of the milk. Oops. It’s either PB&J again or else it’s time to get creative. If breakfast for dinner is getting old, you can throw together this (meatless!) Black Beans and Rice in less time than you’d wait for delivery, using nothing but pantry staples. It’s certainly better for the bottom line than pizza delivery, and chances are if you add all the “little of this” leftovers and let each member of the family choose, everyone will be happy with what’s on their plate. Certainly, as plans go, it has fewer holes in it than “fend for yourselves.”

Variations you can make with luck and/or a little planning:

  • If you happen to keep canned or frozen stock (I mostly don’t, as I usually make soup out of it as soon as I make it. I love soup!) go ahead and use some in place of the water. Otherwise, the water is perfect. (This recipe would go to the next level if you use my slow cooker ham stock. {scroll to the end of the post.})
  • The first words out of my mouth after I started eating this were, “this would be AMAZING with a little fresh cilantro,” but in a “beggars can’t be choosers” situation, you make do. (Maybe cilantro actually grows in your garden? It didn’t in mine.)
  • Toppings! A few bites of fresh avocado on top of this would also be amazing. For non-vegans, a little cheddar cheese or plain greek yogurt is also a great topping option. I steamed a bag of baby spinach as a side for myself. Some fresh chives or scallions are wonderful if you are lucky enough to have them on hand.
  • Speed up dried beans to use in a pinch by cooking a batch (the slow cooker is your perfect tool for this) and freezing them in can-size portions. A can of prepared beans is about 2 cups, drained. If you have ample freezer space you can turn a tiny food budget into a versatile quick fix.
  • Don’t have any rice? Pearl barley or a small pasta like orzo or cous cous will work if that’s what you’ve got. It will affect the texture a bit but the flavors come from the other ingredients.
  • Like it hotter? Substitute cayenne pepper for the Ancho chili powder. You can also use pre-mixed taco seasoning.

Black Beans Preparation Tips:

  • You’ll notice I specify that you drain AND RINSE the beans. If you happen to be one of those people who object to the rinsing instructions, then carry on without rinsing. I do know some people feel this robs the beans of flavor, although I can’t personally taste a difference. Just know that most of what makes beans a “musical fruit” rinses down the drain along with the goo from inside the can, and make your own choices.
  • If you are using dried beans, make sure they are COMPLETELY cooked before you put them with the tomatoes, unless you really do not want to eat them any time soon. Tomatoes inhibit the cooking of beans. (It’s chemistry!)

Black Beans and Rice Recipe horizontal Joy Makin' Mamas

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black beans and rice recipe pin Joy Makin' Mamas

Black Beans & Rice

Cuisine Southwest
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 233 kcal
Author Meghan Gray

Ingredients

  • 1 14 ox can diced tomatoes with liquid
  • 1 15 oz can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup dehydrated onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 Tablespoon oregano
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 4 cloves garlic pressed
  • 3/4 cup white rice
  • 1 3/4 cups water

Instructions

  1. Combine tomatoes, beans, and spices (except garlic) in a non-reactive bowl and set aside to allow flavors to mingle.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until shimmering.
  3. Add garlic to hot oil and sautee about one minute or until just browned. Add rice and sautee about two minutes or until rice just begins to lose translucency but has not begun to brown.
  4. Add water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer without lifting the lid until all liquid is absorbed- about 15-20 minutes.
  5. Stir in tomato and bean mixture and warm through.
  6. Garnish with fresh chives, if desired, and serve.

Recipe Notes

If you prefer spicier food, substitute cayenne pepper for the ancho chili powder. If you want to use fresh onion instead of dried, use about one small onion chopped finely and add it with the garlic. Sautee until translucent and then proceed as written.

black beans and rice recipe pin Joy Makin' Mamas

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